Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Gamelan of Central Java II: Ceremonial Music
Genres: World Music, Classical
Music for special occasions
D. Quinn | northern britain | 07/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This second cd in the 9-disc series "Gamelan of Central Java" focuses on ceremonial music - music for special occasions. Therefore, as you might expect, the five pieces have a particularly ancient, pure, unhurried, feel to them. It is certainly reflective, spacious music, where the gaps between the notes are as important as the notes themselves.
The first two pieces are related to Sekaten, the week-long religious festival, and have a particularly restrained feel. The music has its origins in the 15th century, when Islam began to spread to Java. Two gamelans are played alternately and continuously, from morning til night, inside small pavilions which face one another.
Munggang, the third piece, is some of the oldest Javanese music known. The first, three-toned, set was apparently used as long ago as 347 AD. Used for festive occasions, it unusually uses two great gongs (gong ageng) as opposed to the usual use of just one.
The final two pieces are my favourite selections here - both very trance-inducing mesmeric repetitions that quite honestly sound like nothing you will have ever heard before! Due to the complete lack of reference points for an average Western listener, you could imagine them being played in stone age times, or thousands of years into the future. The final track is called Gending Carabalen, although the origin of the title is uncertain. It handily refers back to the Sekaten festival as it accompanies the procession that marks the end of the religious week.
As usual, the sleeve notes are very detailed and informative and are complimented with a collection of photographs. Because of the special focus of the release, it is perhaps not the best introduction to gamelan, but certainly an invaluable release for those already with an interest in Javanese music.